2006: Glacier

Going-to-the-Sun Road



Glacier National Park is bisected by one main highway, a 50-mile two-lane engineering marvel called Going-to-the-Sun Road. I'm guessing the builders thought this was a more attractive (if less accurate) name than Clinging Desperately to a Mountainside Road.A winding 2500-foot climb takes you to Logan Pass, the high point of the road at 6646 feet.

The wildlife near Logan Pass isn't all that wild. Columbian ground squirrels, resembling pudgy prairie dogs, pose for pictures and accept food from the tourists; and a small herd of mountain goats inhabits a nearby cliff, routinely exibitiing tightrope-walking skills on the rock face.

On our first day driving Glacier, we had a reasonably clear view of the scenery at Logan Pass. We didn't realize our luck at the time; I'm glad we snapped many wonderful pictures then of the awe-inspiring landscape.

As we finished our drive through the park passing the beauty of St. Mary's Lake, we saw the smoke billowing from the Red Eagle fire burning on the Blackfeet reservation just east of the park. It had already been in progress for about a week at that time, and in the coming days the smoke would fill the park and spread west into our camp in Hungry Horse. By the time we left Montana, the fire had burned over 32,000 acres of forestland.

A visit to the town of St. Mary, on the east side of the park, isn't complete without a piece of pie at the Park Cafe. Their home-made flavors include the local huckleberry, as well as blueberry and raspberry. My favorite was razzleberry, a tart mixture of all three. Our waitress Thea said Mike looked like her uncle, so I had to snap a picture of them together. I also couldn't resist buying a cafe t-shirt with the slogan, "Pie for Strength".